Last Friday, Ai Faner participated in the "Xiaopeng Motors NGP Regional Media Test Drive" event.
The initial point of this test drive activity is at the Mulianzhuang Hotel, Huadu. The test drive route is a high-speed loop route, which takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes and the route mileage is 94 kilometers.
In the workshop of the test drive event, Xiaopeng introduced that the NGP (public beta version) of the test drive experience is the functional version pushed to users by the OTA on the evening of January 26, 2021. The currently applicable models are those with the XPILOT 3.0 system. Xiaopeng P7 Zhizun version . This function can realize NGP automatic navigation assisted driving from point A to point B based on the navigation route set by the user.
In short, this technology is a brand new upgrade to the original XPILOT 2.5 system intelligent cruise assist function . After the ACC adaptive cruise + LCC lane centering function is turned on, it can also target fast road conditions. Perform automatic lane change, automatic overtaking, optimal lane selection, automatic on and off ramps, and even automatic emergency avoidance when changing lanes.
It is worth mentioning that at present, this function can only be realized on the "top-fit" Xiaopeng P7 "Zhizun Edition" models with full-spec sensors. To achieve this function, the hardware part and software part of the car naturally need to be perfectly coordinated to achieve this series of high-precision operations.
▲ Xpeng P7 XPILOT 3.0 visual monitoring system
Regarding the hardware part, Xiaopeng said that the P7 Premium Edition model already has "the strongest autopilot hardware for mass-produced cars", including 14 cameras, 5 millimeter wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, built-in Nvidia Xavier computing platform, and centimeters. High-precision positioning, decimeter-level high-definition high-precision map.
As for the software part, Xiaopeng’s biggest foothold in launching the NGP function should be to solve the problem of "precise positioning in all scenes", which can still provide high-precision positioning and navigation capabilities under high-complex road conditions and without global positioning signals. Prior to this, Xiaopeng has combined with AutoNavi Maps to pre-install high-precision map navigation on the bottom of the car-machine system.
Moreover, after the NGP road test of millions of kilometers, the current high-precision map technology has covered most highways and some urban expressways. Xiaopeng said that the current NGP high-precision navigation has covered 90% of China's highways.
At the end of the workshop, Xiaopeng once again emphasized to us: "Xiaopeng NGP is still "assisted driving", not driverless."
Before turning on the NGP function, drivers and passengers need to log in to their personal Xiaopeng car account in the car. Before using it for the first time, they must independently complete Xiaopeng's NGP driver test. The test process takes about 8 to 10 minutes. You need to watch the safety prompt video and the NGP operation demonstration video first, and then take the test. Only after passing the test can the NGP driving assistance switch on Xiaopeng P7 be turned on.
After turning on the NGP switch in the system settings, you need to use the car to navigate to the destination before departure, and then when the car drives to the NGP available section, the car screen will automatically display the NGP available prompt. At this point, the driver only needs to turn the gear lever on the right side of the steering wheel down twice as before turning on the assisted driving function to turn on the NGP assisted driving.
In the actual experience, the test drive coach on the side would suggest that after getting on the high-speed ramp, when the vehicle is in the middle of the road, gently turn on the NGP. If the vehicle is not in the middle of the road, the system will quickly make an adjustment after turning on the NGP. Such adjustment may cause temporary discomfort for drivers and passengers. However, if the vehicle is already in a relatively central position on the road, the takeover switch after turning on the NGP is quite insensible.
After turning on the NGP, you can first find that the assisted driving ability of the Xiaopeng P7 has been able to cope with the turning operations with large curvature on the ramp, and the turning speed is not low, and it is also within the exact speed limit range, which is quite skilled.
After exiting the ramp, the P7 starts to increase linearly. It not only increases the speed to the maximum speed allowed by the road conditions and laws and regulations, but also turns on the turn signal in a steady and orderly manner and drives the vehicle into the leftmost fast lane.
In addition, the NGP of Xiaopeng P7 is also very good in choosing the best lane.
In the case of good road conditions and no congestion, Xiaopeng NGP will choose the leftmost fast lane to drive stably at the highest speed limit. When encountering a vehicle ahead of the lane with a speed lower than this speed, the switch will be released a certain distance in advance, the speed will be reduced linearly and continue to judge, and then may choose to maintain a certain speed from the fast lane to switch to the middle lane, and then increase the speed to overtake car.
If it encounters a vehicle in front in the middle lane, NGP will quickly overtake the vehicle through the left fast lane like an "old driver".
Turning on and off the turn signal, turning and returning the steering wheel, and speeding up and braking can all be done autonomously by the NGP. The series of operations of suppressing the speed within the maximum speed limit of the road, turning on the turn signal in advance, and gently pushing the steering wheel make me feel that Xiaopeng NGP is like a polite and real driver.
Of course, in addition to the system's automatic lane change, turning the turn signal when the NGP is on can also allow the vehicle to change lanes. Moreover, the monitoring of the entire overtaking process and the pre-judgment during lane switching will be visually displayed on the instrument screen and the central control screen.
On my test drive section, I encountered a large truck driving beside the ramp when entering and exiting the ramp, but the Xiaopeng P7 NGP can still handle it very well, first avoiding it, and then changing lanes when the lane is stable and free. Then speed up and overtake in the fast lane.
▲ Road conditions in the eyes of Xiaopeng P7 NGP
Xiaopeng P7 NGP can not only monitor the front, rear, left, and right vehicles, but also can detect the ice cream cones on the construction road and even the roadside in advance. The vehicles can also promptly prompt and reduce speed to avoid.
The roads outside the service area and the highway are not feasible areas for NGP. Xiaopeng NGP will reserve sufficient time for human takeover before entering the service area and getting off the highway. The driver can easily take over the vehicle at any time.
The test drive instructor sitting in the co-driver also mentioned that the current NGP has the ability to drive in rainy and night situations, and its autonomous lane change and overtaking operations have also had a very high success rate. With the release of the public beta version, the number of times that human intervention is required on the highway has decreased.
On the whole, Xiaopeng P7's NGP assisted driving function has obviously become smarter. NGP's driving habits have maintained the original linear tuning level. When the following distance and top speed can be adjusted by the driver, During the nearly 100-kilometer test drive, there was no violent acceleration or sudden braking, and the car and passengers, including the driver, got a more comfortable ride.
Although Xiaopeng has formulated the industry’s first evaluation standard for navigation assistance functions from a user perspective for the NGP function, and has also conducted a large number of road tests for the NGP, if it is currently given to users to use the public test, the learning threshold will still be so A little high.
After the entire NGP test drive experience, my most intuitive feeling is probably like a whole vehicle of experienced "veteran driver", watching how a "new driver" who has just obtained a driver's license drives on the road, even "old driver" "Always ready to take over at any time. This scene is just like in the driving school back then, the coach is always ready to step on the brake pedal of the coach's co-driver.
The "old driver" mentioned here is the human sitting in the car, and the "new driver" is Xiaopeng NGP.
When I first started using the NGP function and faced some complicated road conditions, I was still aware of the difference between the NGP judgment and my daily driving habitual judgment, so I involuntarily turned the steering wheel at the beginning , NGP was closed immediately, and I took over the vehicle directly.
Therefore, I also had a test drive for about ten minutes. Under the guidance of the test drive instructor, I was able to fully feel the NGP's capabilities. It was only then that I gave the NGP system enough confidence.
However, this newly updated OTA function will still have a higher learning cost for regular car owners, and at the same time may give up opening the NGP function for reasons of insufficient trust. After all, not all users can go on test drive practice with a coach. To make this driver assistance system more "senseless" and smarter, in fact, in addition to the R&D efforts that manufacturers have to pay, it also requires users to give a certain amount of trust, while still having good driving habits.
Back to the starting point, after I raised such a question, the Xiaopeng team also showed a keen interest in the problem I reported. They said that the NGP function is still in the public beta stage, so it’s just a matter of experience and use under the premise of ensuring safety. Need to have a certain learning threshold, and said that more perfect optimization and improvement will be made later.
On the other hand, Xiaopeng said that such an "intelligent experience camp" will also be one of the themed activities of Xiaopeng Motors in 2021. In the future, more Peng friends will experience this latest feature.
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